From the General Editor's Desk
Vol. 51 No. 1, September 1999, pp. 8-9
All arts must be regarded as common heritage; to think of them as the preserve of their country of origin is short-sighted. The Taliban shelling has doomed much of Afghanistan's Buddhist heritage. This editorial was prompted by the recent artillery hit on one of the two colossal Buddhas at Bamiyan and the painting of Surya in the statue's niche. A UN convention forbids institutions from acquiring art without permission from the country of origin and that is why museums are not acquiring the bits and pieces that are escaping or coming out of Afghanistan; as a result they are going into private collections. But, the editorial questions, don't these mute art objects have a right to asylum like living refugees?
Tiruchirappalli and the Sacred Island of Srirangam
Vol. 51 No. 1, September 1999, pp. 10-24 [Also in Eternal Kaveri: Historical Sites Along South India's Greatest River edited by George Michell; Vol. 51 No. 1, September 1999; ISBN: 81-85026-45-9, pp. 75-88]
Tiruchirappalli and Srirangam lie in central Tamil Nadu and are important historical and religious sites. This article discusses the main architectural monuments and their history, from the 7th century to the present day. The focus is on the two major temples on Srirangam Island, the Ranganatha and Jambhukeshvara temple complexes, their myths of origin, layout as a complex, main architectural monuments, and history. Both are major temples substantially built in the 16th and 17th centuries, the greatest building period in Tamil history. Reference is also made to the earlier Pallava-period cave-temple excavated at Trichy, later colonial-period churches, and the recent completion of the huge Ranganatha temple's south gopura on Srirangam island.
Tanjavur: Capital of the Delta
Vol. 51 No. 1, September 1999, pp. 25-42 [Also in Eternal Kaveri: Historical Sites Along South India's Greatest River edited by George Michell; Vol. 51 No. 1, September 1999; ISBN: 81-85026-45-9, pp. 89-106]
Tanjavur as the political heart of the Kaveri delta for the better part of a millennium, has given the region its unique economic, historical and cultural development. Under the 10th century Chola king Rajaraja I it was laid out as an imperial city with a great temple dedicated to Shiva, which came to be known as Brihadishvara. The history of this celebrated centre of the arts during Chola, Vijayanagara, Nayaka, and Maratha rule is described.
Temple City of Kumbakonam
Vol. 51 No. 1, September 1999, pp. 43-58 [Also in Eternal Kaveri: Historical Sites Along South India's Greatest River edited by George Michell; Vol. 51 No. 1, September 1999; ISBN: 81-85026-45-9, pp. 107-122]
Its strategic siting at the heart of the Kaveri delta has given Kumbakonam an exalted position as a religious, intellectual, and economic centre. The creation myth of the city is discussed, as is the Kudamukku-Palaiyarai (sacred-imperial centre) configuration of Chola times and its religious architecture; the urban and ritual topography in Vijayanagara-Nayaka times with the Mahamakam tank, the most sacred complex in this city studded with temples and shrines representing all the principal Hindu deities.
Baolis of Punjab and Haryana
Vol. 51 No. 1, September 1999, pp. 59-74
Stepwells were a prime source of water in the subcontinent till recent times. The article surveys the surviving baoli structures in Punjab and Haryana which to date have not been studied in as much detail as their more elaborate counterparts in Gujarat. Listed and described are baolis for public and private use.
Studies in Indian Art and Culture: Some Avoidable Presumptions and Speculative Theories
Vol. 51 No. 1, September 1999, pp. 75-87
Insufficient knowledge of Persian in studying the vast historical sources has led eminent art historians into acts of omission and commission resulting in erroneous conclusions. This article highlights a few avoidable errors resulting from faulty and incomplete decipherment and translation of Persian inscriptions in the form of signatures, endorsements, legends, seals, inscriptions and colophons of manuscripts in the catalogue of the exhibition "India!"
Vol. 51 No. 1, September 1999, pp. 88-95
Monisha Ahmed reports on lectures by Jyotindra Jain and Jagdish Mittal, and reviews the Dashrath Patel exhibition in Mumbai; John Siudmak writes on The Tiger and the Thistle, Tipu Sultan and the Scots in India, 1760-1800 exhibition on at the National Gallery of Scotland; Kavita Singh writes about the opening of the refurbished Musee Guimet in Paris.
Vol. 51 No. 1, September 1999, pp. 96-101
Gayatri Sinha reviews The Legacy of Raja Ravi Varma the Painter, edited by Ratan Parimoo; Asok Kumar Das reviews Princes, Poets & Paladins: Islamic and Indian Paintings from the Collection of Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan by Sheila R. Canby; Syamali Das reviews Flowers Underfoot: Indian Carpets of the Mughal Era by Daniel Walker; Pratapaditya Pal reviews Prambanan: Sculpture and Dance in Ancient Java, A Study in Dance Iconography by Alessandra Iyer.